Methylmercury (MeHg) is a widely distributed contaminant polluting many aquatic environments, with health risks to humans exposed mainly through consumption of seafood. The mechanisms of toxicity of MeHg are not completely understood. In order to map the range of molecular targets and gain better insights into the mechanisms of toxicity, we prepared Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) 135k oligonucleotide arrays and performed global analysis of transcriptional changes in the liver of fish treated with MeHg (0.5 and 2 mg/kg of body weight) for 14 days. Inferring from the observed transcriptional changes, the main pathways significantly affected by the treatment were energy metabolism, oxidative stress response, immune response and cytoskeleton remodeling. Consistent with known effects of MeHg, many transcripts for genes in oxidative stress pathways such as glutathione metabolism and Nrf2 regulation of oxidative stress response were differentially regulated. Among the differentially regulated genes, there were disproportionate numbers of genes coding for enzymes involved in metabolism of amino acids, fatty acids and glucose. In particular, many genes coding for enzymes of fatty acid beta-oxidation were up-regulated. The coordinated effects observed on many transcripts coding for enzymes of energy pathways may suggest disruption of nutrient metabolism by MeHg. Many transcripts for genes coding for enzymes in the synthetic pathways of sulphur containing amino acids were also up-regulated, suggesting adaptive responses to MeHg toxicity. By this toxicogenomics approach, we were also able to identify many potential biomarker candidate genes for monitoring environmental MeHg pollution. These results based on changes on transcript levels, however, need to be confirmed by other methods such as proteomics.
PubMed ID: 23103053
Projects: Systems toxicology of Atlantic cod
Publication type: Not specified
Journal: Aquat Toxicol
Citation: Aquat Toxicol. 2013 Jan 15;126:314-25. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2012.09.013. Epub 2012 Oct 8.
Date Published: 30th Oct 2012
Registered Mode: Not specified
Created: 5th Feb 2017 at 22:20